Why do I feel so anxious about child starting school?

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Earlier today I found myself googling ‘why do I feel so anxious about child starting school.’

And then I thought.  I’m a blogger.  I can answer this one, right?

Well, no, as it turns out.

But I can write it all down and you can answer me.  Like an agony aunt.  Who empathises.  Ideally, one who looks and sounds a bit like Mrs Doubtfire.

Unless you’re one of those mean, ‘knock some sense into you’ types, ‘JUST GET OVER IT.’  In which case, go ahead.  I can take it.

I think it would sound something like this.

Dear lovely, empathetic Agony Aunt,

My four year old’s just started school.  And it’s left me feeling a bit all over the place.  Surprisingly so.  I thought I was a hard mother of the Gina Ford variety.  Not so.  They’re going to kick me out at this rate.  I can’t lose my membership, I can’t. 

Last week’s anxiety was all about the cornflakes.   Well you’ll be pleased to know we’ve sorted that one.  We’ve moved onto porridge.  Less chewing and sticks to the spoon, you see, so a time saver all round.  We’ve got a new personal best in fact.

No, this week, it’s all about the work-school-nursery balance.  I think.  Oh I don’t know, maybe it’s not about that at all.

Because despite doing a school drop off, oyster top-up AND catching a train in eight minutes (the walk alone is seven minutes) I’m feeling out of sorts.  Overwhelmed.  Tired.  Anxious.  A little sad that I’m not going to be there for pick-up three days a week.

I’ve just called her and she couldn’t have sounded more upbeat as she sang ‘Hi mum, how are you, byeeeee!’ whilst playing the drums VERY loudly. 

So if she’s none the worse for me not being there.  If she’s settled well at school.  If she has friends there. If she’s told me school’s great and I don’t need to keep asking so many questions (apparently, she’ll tell me when she’s bigger), why do I still feel like this?

I’m usually a pretty logical person.  And even as I write this, I feel like telling myself to snap out of it.  Because it doesn’t make sense, does it?  If I know that, it must be stark raving obvious to you.

I know I need to give it time.  But I’m impatient.  And I haven’t got enough as it is.  So please don’t tell me that.  I can usually talk myself out of everything.  But the ears aren’t listening this time.

Yours in need of a stiff drink

Bereft mother of new schooler

Do your worst Agony Aunts…

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    8 thoughts on “Why do I feel so anxious about child starting school?

    1. Annabel Osborne

      I’d say it COULD be – we all know how much time, how many years, and how influential our schooling is on so many aspects of our lives – even as adults… We remember oh so vividly the best friends, the falling out, the making up, getting hurt… Serious debates over swapping stickers – and all this before boys become part of the equation…. And as an adult we all know it is the one place where we really have very little influence over our children and what happens to them…. It’t often the first time we loosen those reins and rely on them to tell us honestly how their day was… All I can say is – it does get easier – and count your blessings that Beaver loves it – it’s so much harder when they don’t!!!! Now go have that stiff drink :o )

      1. Amy RansomAmy Ransom Post author

        I am loving all the recommendations for that stiff drink. You lot are brilliant Agony Aunts, if a bit boozy. But ain’t nothing wrong with that. Thank you Annabel x

    2. Simple Soul

      When your kids become independent of you, then you can no longer look at them and explain away your “settling” in other areas of your life as being “sacrifices” you made because your kids need you. . Your job. Your relationship. Your failure to achieve all your personal goals. They no longer can be explained as victims of your maternal raisin d’être. So pretty soon you’re going to have to face up to all those decisions about your life that kids allow you to avoid. This is the first step on the road to that particular horror show.

      Just one farher’s view…

      1. Amy RansomAmy Ransom Post author

        Simple Soul, you paint a delightful picture. So delightful it makes me want to drink a bottle not a glass. It sounds like you might need an Agony Aunt…

    3. Jennifer

      Dear Amy,
      Thank you for your letter. Before I start, please close your eyes and imagine a very bad but soft Scottish accent and a man dressed in woman’s clothes.
      Right my we lassy. Gooo to the cupboard and sit your we keekta dooon. Poor a very grand drop of yer best dram and drink it dooon.
      Your we bairn is off to school not the orange people, she’ll be fine and so will you. It’s natural to feel anxious but the dram should help with that. You are an amazing Mamma. Wishing I could pour you your next one, xx love Mrs Shoutfire

    4. suzanne3childrenandit

      This sounds like a classic case of Mother Guilt and you have written your own post about that one (as have I and many other bloggers before us!)….it simply isn’t worth investing your time in. Let it go and take a leaf out of Beaver’s book, who seems to be taking it very much in her stride :)

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